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Schools violating Centre's digital guidelines: Parents
Norms issued in students’ interests to cut down undue screen time
Vidya Nagar: Many schools in the city have exceeded the screen time in conducting the classes violating the 'Pragyata', the eight-step digital guidelines issued by the Union Education Ministry.
The guidelines say that an online class for pre-primary students should not be for more than 30 minutes a day. Similarly, for classes 1 to 8, the ministry has suggested that not more than two online sessions of up to 45 minutes each be conducted in a day. The guidelines have been issued keeping in mind the overall development of students, with an aim to cut down undue screen time.
"My child is in fourth grade sitting for almost five-hour online classes at the start of the new academic year. Children are already using technology to a large extent. Online education for such a long period is adding it to our worries. We have been controlling his screen time off the classes and indulging him in physical activity. The Education department should keep an eye on such schools that are violating the guidelines," a parent said.
Another parent said that their kid's school also did not follow the guidelines in the previous academic year and have taken online classes for more than two hours. "Pragyata guidelines will be applicable for online education anywhere till there are no other guidelines from the ministry. Schools are not worried for our kids. Even teachers are taking classes flouting these guidelines." said S Umesh, a parent of a student of class II
Speaking to The Hans India, SubhangiKatre, a primary class teacher working in a well-known school in Alwal, said the classes are stretched more than 30 minutes which not only increases screen exposure of students, but also makes teachers sit for a longer time leading to many health issues. "Certainly, many schools will exceed the duration in a hurry to meet the deadline given by the school." she added.
Shabbir Ali, the president of Telangana Private Teachers' Forum (TPTF), said the private schools want to collect fees by conducting classes in violation of the guidelines. If they conduct classes for 3-4 hours, they can demand hefty amounts of fees. "There are many health issues like no physical activity if they sit for 2-3 hours. But schools are least concerned about such issues," he felt.
Pragyata states that during the online class or interaction or video online, the duration of the sessions and classes needs to be planned in consonance with age group of children. Each subject teacher cannot insist on holding online sessions for several days. Schools should decide on a fixed number of hours a day of screen time for each level of schooling – lower primary, upper primary and secondary. Children exposed to digital technologies or gadgets for a longer time are prone to severe health issues. Hence seating with digital gadgets for longer hours can be avoided by designing age-appropriate schedules of digital education.